There’s always a lot going on here, but much of my time during the first weeks of September is devoted to our evaluative interview program. Starting next Monday, we’ll be running a schedule with about 35 interviews each week conducted by current students. Toward the end of the semester, we add quite a few staff interviews, too. It’s a busy little operation, with applicants and interviewers flowing in and out of the office all day.

Coming up with the interviewer assignments is like completing a puzzle. Just when I think I have a viable draft schedule, I learn that an interviewer has switched from one class to another, and now has a conflict with the assigned time slot. Somehow it all comes together and requires very little intervention from me as the semester goes on.

What do we tell the interviewers during their training? The basics — turn up on time, keep the atmosphere relaxed, remember to turn in your report on the interview, etc. We tell them that the office staff is here to support them, and that they should always feel free to bring interviewees to the office to ask questions. The majority of our interviewers have conducted interviews in their work or community activities, so it’s mostly a matter of plugging them into the Fletcher system.

I love the interview program. It’s great for applicants who can take the time to visit — they have a chance to share information about themselves and to gather information from someone who was in the same position a year ago. And it’s great for the current students — their input is very valuable to the Admissions Committee, and they enjoy meeting people who could be sitting next to them in class in the future.

Much as I value the program, I know that it has its shortcomings. Interviews are, as a rule, limited to campus. We can’t, in general, match interviewers and interviewees on the basis of research interests. We don’t have appropriately private space for students to conduct telephone interviews, so we don’t offer them. In other words, the interview program is limited in scope. Nonetheless, we consider it a success and we’re happy to offer it.

To schedule an interview, you can email us or reach us by phone. We’ll set you up with an appointment, and send information on what to expect during your visit.

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